TAMPA — As the Buccaneers opened their three-day mandatory minicamp Tuesday, two players emerged from the back of the depth chart to warrant the attention of coach Lovie Smith.
Former University of Florida standout WR Louis Murphy caught everything in sight, while reserve CB Danny Gorrer excelled as an inside defender during a two-hour workout in searing heat.
“This is one last look before we come back and put on the pads for that final piece to get ready for the Panthers,” said Smith, referring to the Bucs’ regular-season opener against Carolina on Sept. 7 at Raymond James Stadium.
Murphy, 27, attended Lakewood High in St. Petersburg and starred with the Gators before Oakland chose him in the fourth round of the 2009 draft after running a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. In March, while a free agent, he signed a one-year deal with the Bucs, his fourth pro team in six seasons.
“Louis Murphy, local guy, had a couple of big plays today,” Smith said. “Louis has been here the entire time and made play after play.
“We have a lot of that competition going on with players who were in the background when I first got here.”
Gorrer, 28, was claimed off waivers from Seattle midway through the 2012 season. He was limited to seven games last year following groin surgery.
“Danny has excellent speed, quickness and great acceleration,” Smith said. “Today he played nickel and he made plays. He also made a great play on special teams as a gunner.”
Leading by example
QB Josh McCown said veterans Vincent Jackson and Murphy are setting the tone for a young, impressionable receiving corps.
“Anytime Vincent is out there, there’s a different juice to it, a different feel,” said McCown, who launched a few long completions Tuesday, including one to Murphy down the middle.
McCown said Jackson is “always lined up in the right spot, always doing the right things, and those guys in that room follow suit. He’s done a good job setting the standard.
“Louis Murphy had a great practice today and looked really sharp. He’s helping to carry that mantle with Vince.”
S Mark Barron (hamstring) returned Tuesday, but S Dashon Goldson (ankle), G Carl Nicks (foot), CB Alterraun Verner (hamstring) and rookie WR Mike Evans (hamstring) did not participate in team drills.
Smith said he isn’t worried about the team’s overall health.
“We probably have a few more hamstring injuries than I’d like,” he said, “but no player has an injury that I’m really concerned about.”
New offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, who has never called a play in the NFL, has impressed McCown with an open-minded approach. “He’s got great ideas,” McCown said. ... Rookie G Kadeem Edwards has shown good agility during individual drills, Smith said.